"How I Became A Socialist Agitator"
by Kate Richards O'Hare
Published in Socialist Woman, October 1908, pp. 4-5.
Autobiographical sketch by professional Socialist organizer and journalist Kate Richards O'Hare about her early life and decision to live the life of a touring radical agitator. Beginning life on the ranch of a reasonably successful Kansas rancher, O'Hare recalls that the economic crisis of 1887 caused her family to lose its Kansas homestead and forced her father to become a wage-worker in Kansas City. Although recovering his financial position somewhat, the experience left the young Kate Richards scarred. After time as a religious zealot in the temperance movement, Richards came to understand that the liquor trade and prostitution were effects rather than causes of poverty and she began to look for solutions in other places.
She pushed until she was eventually allowed to become an apprentice machinist, which gave her entre into the trade union and eventually the Socialist movements, with a speech by Mother Jones reckoned as of particular importance. Richards met Coming Nation and Appeal to Reason publisher Julius Wayland and eventually became in a school for the training of Socialist party workers in Girard, Kansas underwritten by Wayland and taught by Walter Thomas Mills. It was there where Richards met her husband, Frank O'Hare, a fellow student. Upon completion of the course at Mills' school the pair embarked on seven years as touring socialist agitators.
Published in USA prior to 1923, public domain.
Edited by Tim Davenport for 1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR, August 2013.
Uploaded by Tim Davenport ("Carrite") to Archive.org on Sept. 1, 2013.
Non-commercial reproduction permitted